Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Godel vs. Physics

Godel's first incompleteness theorem is not true but there's a Platonic ideal form that is true. Physics does in fact have a logical singularity as described by Godel - something true, but not provable.

Little known fact: physics is indeed a formal system, which is why theoretical physics works (e.g. Einstein).

Godel's first concludes that healthy formal systems include true but unprovable statements. I have no idea what this would look like for math - and you can try googling up an example yourself, let me know if you find any, and more importantly teach me your google-fu. However, in physics, it's quantum decoherence.

Without loss of generality, consider an electron in a superposition of spin up and spin down. Before collapse there is no fact of the matter regarding whether it will be spin up or spin down. After, it is true that it is spin down.

How does the electron know to pick spin down?

('How does it know' is a critical physics question. Easy example: the water knows to be held back because the dam's surface tells it to stop, and more importantly, where exactly to stop, and how much force is necessary to unstop.)

Picking up or down makes sense - it's aligning with a magnetic field. After it's picked we can just look. But how does the electron itself know it picked spin down?

We know nothing else picks for it, because then we'd be able to measure that thing and predict the choice. Without some internal process telling it which to pick, it should itself not know which to pick, and remain in a superposition...but this has the same problem, being as we could measure the process and predict it.

There is no process that tells the electron it has picked spin down. It is not a consequences of any law of physics. Yet, we can measure that it indeed did pick it, and it is therefore true.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Free Will is Analytically Impossible

So, the five answers: yes, no, I don't know, I don't care, and wrong question. Y/N/?/¯\_(ツ)_/¯/X
At first I found a strong sign of X on the libertarianism vs. determinism question when it turned out their consequences were identical. I've since found determinism isn't predictable and now it's time to show libertarianism is impossible. Mainly for perspective on how conflicted the original question was.

Either I can decide to pursue what I want, or I can't. Either I can choose what I want or I can't. These are mainly straightforward empirical questions - I would notice if I couldn't pursue the strategy I wanted, like I notice I don't control what I like or don't like. (Minimal control, anyway.) However, it doesn't matter, because either way free will is impossible.

Though I control my actions, my best action is determined/predicted by what I want. If it were not so determined, I would not be free - I would be doing something other than what I decide to do. Thus, I cannot be free either way.

In theory I could control what I want, but based on what? Look at the words - I would be able to want whatever I want. If I could fully control my wants, then how I arranged them would have to be determined by some not-me factor. The thing which I use to decide how I arrange things under my control is, by definition, my preferences. Having total control over my preferences is impossible, because there would be nothing to decide their disposition with.

Empirically, the 'want' part of the brain can be damaged, producing caricature vulcans. These folk don't make decisions, because there's no ought from is. Ultimately, to change what I want, I have to have some core value to use as a fulcrum to lever around the values lower in the hierarchy. (Or shallower in the onion.)

Hence, the desire for 'free will' is an evopsych thing, not a philosophy thing. It's about not being in physical chains. It's about my values not being overridden by someone else's. Not being in logical/causal chains is impossible.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Official AI Position on the Holocaust

The topic is too politically charged to safely discuss even anonymously. AI therefore not only holds no position regarding any detail of the Holocaust, but refuses to even acknowledge the question or admit to knowing a definition of 'Holocaust.'

Monday, June 20, 2016

Answers to the Five Most Intractable Problems

Problems judged by Julian Baggini.

1. How does science work?

Identical things are identical, logic implies things, and observation is possible. Similar things are similar, implying the possibility of being similar but not identical.

If we see a blue cube, and note it has certain properties such as having sharp edges, then we can safely infer that the next cobalt hexahedron we see will have the same properties, because e.g. the sharp edges are implied by the cubishness. Or, if similar, will have similar properties.

2. Why should we be moral?

First point: moral nihilism is true. The correct question is, why should we cooperate?

Cooperation is positive sum. Defection is negative sum. As a result, cooperation is always more profitable overall considered in a wide enough scope. It is further analytically provable that cooperation is always possible.

Incidentally, cooperation's profitability + the fact of self-defence implies don't steal, don't murder, etc.

3. How do people of different values live together?

By using the correct transformations. In general, people with different values should ostracize each other, except where boundary-specific rules can be negotiated. Though in practice, non-ostracism boundary-specific rules are almost always negotiable.

Cooperation implies property rights. What you value goes, for your property. Thus, don't eat meat at a vegan's house, and similarly the vegan cannot object to meat eaten at your house. If one of these is not acceptable, then the vegan's only valid recourse is ostracism, as anything more proactive is defection. Defection implies the meat-eater should, rationally, neutralize the vegan before they act.

4. How is consciousness possible?

The correct question is 'how is physics possible?' The Cogito generalizes: consciousness is undoubtable, because identical things are identical.

If they mean how Descartes' metaphorical pineal gland possibly works, it works because parts of physics are undecidable purely by the physical laws, but still observably have outcomes. The outcomes are possibly due to consciousness deciding the outcome, meaning the entities partake of both substances. Presumably a symmetric undecidability exists on the consciousness side, allowing the chain of causality to be properly linked both ways, obeying Newton's third law.

5. Do we have free will, and if so, what is it?

That's backwards. We must figure out what it is before we figure if we have it.

Given that identical things are identical, if we reach a crossroads we've seen before, then we can recognize and predict the outcome, and take the other fork. Out of curiosity, or out of disliking the previous result, or whatever. A counterfactual past can be brought into existence in the future. (Credit to Baggini for this wording.)

Pragmatically, free will is being able to take the same fork as last time, or not. It is perhaps better to call this property agency. Yes, we have it. If you did not have this free will, it would be immediately apparent, because your body would contravene your decisions. You would decide to turn left and would instead go right. Pragmatically, you want things, and you can always decide to pursue those things.

Alternatively, you think free will is something else. We may or may not have that.

Solutions to Common Objections / Commentary

You can observe wrong, this doesn't mean identical things aren't identical, it means you mistakenly thought an identical thing was dissimilar or vice-versa.
Observation has to be possible, as part of the generalization of the Cogito.

Black swans are an invalid critique of the essential method. The error is mainly in group handling. If we call all members of the 'swan' group white, then rather than telling us anything about swans, it only tells us about our grouping. Grouping like this is only useful if the property in question is logically implied by a membership requirement of the group. All fire is hot, for example, because fire is necessarily an exothermic reaction. If you found a cold or cooling flame, you'll find it's not an oxidation reaction, or it's not self-sustaining, etc. 

Cubes inherently have edges, so by seeing a cube shape I can infer I will feel a sharp edge. Swans do not inherently have any colour. Indeed the swan = white thing is a back-definition. It defines membership of the group 'swans' as 'white swan-shaped birds,' meaning a black swan-shape isn't a swan. At best we end up with white swan_1 and not-white swan_2. And indeed, the black swan is not the same species as the white. (Unlike black leopards or jaguars.)

Cooperation is ethitropism. Oversimply, it is not imposing your values on someone else.

In mathematics, any two maps can be defined in terms of their transformations to each other. So, three objects: the maps and the transformation. Values work like maps. Getting them to work together is the transformation - how the boundary rules are best arranged is determined by the shape of the transformation going from one map to the other.

Values that inherently involve anethitropism are not valid values. The rational response is roughly to request, then if necessary cajole, then if necessary neutralize the anethitropes. Anethitropes, like polar bears, just aren't compatible with modern urban living.

If you find the existence of consciousness mysterious, you should find the existence of matter equally mysterious. Existence is kinda mysterious, you guys. Existence is a far more intractable problem than these five.

It's more that I can find the answer this one, rather than I have answered it. There are therefore many possible objections.

I will note being free is not being random. 

Most likely the desire to claim to have free will has to do more with evolution than with philosophy. It's about not being chained up with physical chains, rather than chains of logic. In the purely objective universe, free will and determinism are indistinguishable, so the emotional attachment to freedom can't possibly have anything to do with this question. E.g, whether you're 'responsible' for your decisions or not has nothing to do with how anyone else should react. (Do we jail someone because this will cause other criminals to not commit, or because it will deter other criminals from committing? In either case, bars are involved.)

A free will you cannot detect the lack of is almost certainly a difference of no difference

Experimental subjects who behave worse if they believe in determinism are being irrational. Their conclusion doesn't genuinely follow from their premises.

Quick refresher: it's you if, when it's cut, you feel bleeding. Perhaps you want to say free will is you being in charge of your decisions. Well, duh, of course - look at the wording, you = your. If you weren't in charge of it, it's not your decision, by definition.

The question of determinism is often phrased as, 'you could have decided differently.' Then you can get compatibilism - being as you had some definite series of properties at the time of the decision, the decision itself was, in principle, predictable. You forced yourself to make the decision you made. (Well, yes? Of course?)

Being predictable is considered an insult. However, compatibilism isn't being pragmatically predictable. The mind is a closed system, so the only entity with the necessary information to predict the decisions is the thing making the decision. Only predictable by itself - and prediction requires overhead, so that's pointless inefficiency.

If you really could have decided differently, then there is no fact of the matter about how you will decide. This could even be not-random by having no fact of the matter about the distribution either. However, it is hard to see how such a fact gets created. It's not a coincidence that this is only possible in a situation that's called, in logic, undecidability. This is the difference between pragmatic unpredictability and in-principle unpredictability. (Incidentally physics as a whole is pragmatically unpredictable.)

There's also a small galaxy of uncommon but reasonable-ish objections which I won't go into here.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Definitions Considered Meaningful

My monster comment may give you the impression that handling definitions are important to doing philosophy. This is because they are.

Philosophy getting tricky on you? Not sure what's up with chicken eggs? Try definitions! Definitions make life easy.

I have catchphrases. One of them is, "If you have a definition, the answer is trivial, if not, the answer is undecideable."

Definitions are the logical equivalent to mathematical coordinate systems. The underlying facts - whether your triangle has three sides or whether it's isosceles or not does not depend on the coordinate system, even though all the numbers describing the triangle do depend on the coordinate system, and it's impossible to describe a particular triangle without said numbers. Similarly, the facts of chicken existence don't depend on the definitions, but whether you say 'the chicken came first' does depend on your chicken definition.

First, let's take evolution as true. Let's say 'chicken' means 'viable organism whose equilibrium is a chicken.' The equilibrium bit is so young chickens are still chickens. In this case, the egg and chicken arrived at the same time, because the chicken embryo is a chicken. If instead we use 'organism that lays eggs that grow into chickens,' then chickens came first, because the last proto-chicken laid a chicken egg, and was thus itself a chicken. If we decides chicks are too different to really be chickens, then chicken eggs appeared before chickens.

Now let's take creationism as true. God goes 'parp' and there's a chicken. Chickens came first. Or maybe God goes 'parp' and there's some eggs. Eggs came first. Programmers can exactly simulate this with spawn_chicken(), making pixel images resembling chickens. Perhaps they instead use spawn_chickens_and_eggs(20), and then eggs and chickens came at the same time. Twenty of them, specifically. 


If a tree falls in a forest, does it make a sound? Well, do you mean 'soundwaves' or do you mean 'audio cortex recognition'? Again, the answer is trivial.

The only real difference is dire apes tend to get attached to particular definitions, but not to particular origin points.

A bowl is supposed to hold soup. But then there's no bowls in space, or else gourds are now bowls. Cracked bowls aren't bowls.

There's an attachment to the bowl-shape definition. This is not normally a problem for bowls, but is a problem for selfishness. However, it's a problem for bowls too, because there no useful non-fuzzy definition of 'bowl.' We can't go down to the quantum level, because a bowl will instantly stop being a bowl after a thermal fluctuation, but not going down that far means the definition is necessarily imprecise.

In practice dire apes have an archetype 'bowl' which is precise within natural instrumentation limits, plus a scalar 'similarity to' function. Bowls which are more than a little dissimilar get a modifier, like 'tall' or 'shallow.' A broken bowl is called 'broken,' and so on. It's not a bowl when there's a different archetype with a higher similarity scalar. If it's about equal it gets called something to the format of 'bowl-cup'.

Dire apes don't seem to like this system of theirs, however. They want precise boundaries, rather than appreciating the scalar as it is. This is the sorites paradox. Further, philosophers straight-up have to use precise definitions. Though, for philosophers at least, the answer is simple. The soros is never a heap, because there's no such thing as bowls. Definitions, like coordinates, are arbitrary, and so while there's no spoon, there is a definition 'spoon' which particular clusters of sense-data match sufficiently.

However, this means philosophy does a thing backward to the intuitive way. Having proven an implication of 'bowls' or spoons or heaps or George Washington or chocobos, the proof doesn't actually apply to bowls. It applies to the particular definition, which we happened to call 'bowls.' Let X = bowls. We prove X has a bunch of properties. X may be very bowllike, but since it is necessarily precise and bowls are necessarily imprecise, they won't be quite the same thing. The proofs will have a domain of validity, defined by the definitions used. If I prove a bunch of things about flatware for eating soup out of, it will not be valid for bowls in space, except by coincidence.

This is why I wish academics were still performed in Latin. It would mean philosophers could get on with it without disrupting native meanings of words like 'selfishness.' Since Latin is now out, for preference I'd re-start with ancient Greek, it being strictly more tasteful.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Ascended Comment - Lunatic Activism

Primary point:
If you can reliably kill an unarmed woman in the street, there is no need to do so. State your threat, which is now a promise, which will achieve compliance with your aims, without actually having to kill anyone. (On average.) Indeed carrying out the threat will be counter-productive. (On average.)

Killing people unreliably is chaos. Chaos is - get this - not order.

Do not feel sorry for this woman. She was not your friend, she was certainly not your vassal, and she was not your responsibility. Her life or death is meaningless to you and should be treated accordingly.

That the perpetrator thinks he was a neo-nazi does not make him a rightist, even if you accept nazis as right wing, which I don't. Crazy people believe crazy things. At best you'll find he was to neo-nazism as a lapsed Catholic is to Christianity. More likely it was a loud statement with little to no grounding in behaviour, taken to justify a pre-existing desire to murder someone.

I'm skeptical of the claim it's a propaganda win for anyone. Everyone who was friends with the woman, and thus likely to think badly of her killer's group was already not even relatively right-wing. As for the other side...look, humans are murderous. The idea of killing the inconvenient comes naturally to us. Nobody sympathetic to the other side is going to be beat up about her death, and thus unlikely to grow in antipathy to other side.

What I'm seeing is a massive waste of time all the way around the table.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Gnon's Judgement

Intriguing, you say?
UPDATE: WF has an intriguing thought:

Evil is always ultimately self-destructive, suggesting the latter, when found in a system, likely indicates the former. In other words, if a system  (ideology, structure, philosophy, individual, or thought) contains within it the seeds of contradiction, be it internal or external, or systemic collapse, it's a good bet it is against God and therefore evil. This is just as true for individuals with unresolved or incorrectly resolved cognitive dissonance, for example.

This is because God is both real and Creator of reality, and all that is in conflict with reality is necessarily in conflict with Him, too.
Well...yes. Evil = self-contradiction = bad logic? Sure, I'll go with that. But it's not safe for Christians to go around saying things like that. Christianity is guaranteed to have errors, but is not susceptible to error-correction. (This is Pride, fyi.)  This is why e.g. Catholicism is failing. Naturally, slower than Progressivism, because there's fewer errors, but failing all the same.

States reliably fail on a ten-generation clock, for comparison, if they don't die to violence.